When I was in Junior High and High School book reports were often assigned weekly. Many of my fellow students went to the store and bought condensed versions of the classics to avoid having to read five hundred pages. As I approach this blog today about Yom Kippur/The Day of Atonement, I have a similar approach. The volume of information about this day or any of the feast days is endless. So, I am praying, asking and listening, “Holy Spirit, what needs to be shared with us as Christians, to help us understand this sacred day?”
Yom Kippur is the most solemn feast day in the year. There are ten days between the Feast of Trumpet and the Day of Atonement. They are called ‘the days of awe’ and deep soul searching is taking place… restoration is made, relationships that have been broken seek to be healed, people examine their actions, responses, and motives.
It is also a day set aside for meeting face to face with God for judgment. This year Yom Kippur begins tonight at sundown (October 8, 2019) and goes until tomorrow, October 9th, at sundown.
You may not think it is a sacred day, but opinions don’t count. It is so sacred to God that it is the only day out of the entire year that He commands not only a Sabbath—a ceasing of all work and a time of worship, but a fast from food for 24 hours.
Leviticus 23:26-28, 31-32 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls (fast), and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.
You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”
Yom Kippur means the Day of Covering. It is the only day anyone could enter the Holy of Holies—the place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, the Presence of God. And the only person allowed to enter was the High Priest.
So, once a year, the High Priest took a bull and a ram to sacrifice for himself and his family’s sins, and two goats and a ram for the sins of the people. The sacrifices were inspected to make sure they were without defect and then their blood was gathered in a bowl to take into the Holy of Holies.
After that, the High Priest would enter the Holy Place where he would remove his high-priestly garments and put on the linen garments and head covering of a simple priest. Then He would take the blood of the bull and the goat that was sacrificed and go into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it on the mercy seat—the covering of the Ark of the Covenant. This, in essence, was God’s throne on earth.
Yom Kippur is also called the Day of Face to Face for this reason. The High Priest would meet face-to-face with God, there, in the Holy of Holies. In the days when the Tabernacle was in use or the Temple, the people would stand outside praying that God would receive the sacrifice and forgive them for their sin.
Yom Kippur marked the end forty days of reflection, repentance, and restitution for the sins Israel had committed that year.
Yeshua HaMashiach is our High Priest. And instead of the blood of bulls or goats, He offered His own blood as an eternal sacrifice for sin. With one sacrifice He settled the matter forever.
Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement is also the day of the Great Trumpet.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are three primary trumpets the Jewish people recognize as God-ordained. Each of these trumpets is blown on specific days of the Lord’s feasts each year.
- “The First Trump,” is blown on Pentecost – in remembrance of the trumpets blown the day that God gave Israel the ten commandments.
- “The Last Trump,” is blown on the Feast of Trumpets/ Rosh HaShanah – Announcing the coming of the Bridegroom
- “The Great Trump,” is blown on Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement –Believed by many that this will be the day of Judgement when the Lord will come with His armies to do warfare against those who have come against Israel.
It will also be the day of redemption for many of the Jews. While it is months after Yeshua poured out His atoning sacrifice, Yom Kippur will be a day for the Jews to recognize their Messiah:
Zechariah 12: 9-10 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Many of them will come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua as their Messiah.
The Bible mentioned this day in a couple of places: Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mark 13:5-27 – especially note verse 29)
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Complete Jewish Bible For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.
So, the Great Trumpet will usher in the return of Yeshua to rule and reign.
It is believed that this Great Trumpet will announce the final gathering of the Bride and the beginning of the Day of the Lord—or the wrath of God being poured out on those who remain on the earth.
This is a brief recount of the activity and meaning of the Day of Atonement. But, my prayer is that you recognize the incredible blessing we have as believers. Yeshua paid the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us.
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Yom Kippur can be a day of thanksgiving for this great blessing and for the reward of relationship with Him in His family. It can also be a day to pray for the Jews and many others who don’t know that He paid the same price for them and that eternal salvation is theirs for the believing.
Let’s be diligent to share the gospel with all we meet so they too can be part of the celebration.